Introduction • This module presents an introduction to the NDT
method of ultrasonic testing.
• Ultrasonic testing uses high frequency sound
energy to conduct examinations and make measurements.
• Ultrasonic examinations can be conducted on a
wide variety of material forms including castings, forgings, welds, and composites. part being examined can be collected, such as the presence of discontinuities, part or coating thickness; and acoustical properties can often be correlated to certain properties of the material.
• A considerable amount of information about the
• Applications • Basic Principles of sound generation • Pulse echo and through transmission testing • Inspection applications • Equipment • Transducers • Instrumentation • Reference Standards • Data presentation • Advantages and Limitations • Glossary of terms
Basic Principles of Sound
• Sound is produced by a vibrating body and travels in the form of a wave.
waves travel through materials by vibrating the particles that • Soundup the material. make
• The pitch of the sound is determined by the
frequency of the wave (vibrations or cycles completed in a certain period of time). • Ultrasound is sound with a pitch too high to be detected by the human ear.
Basic Principles of Sound (cont.
. The time is takes a sound wave to travel a distance of one complete wavelength is the same amount of time it takes the source to execute one complete vibration. (λ = 1/f) Several wave modes of vibration are used in ultrasonic inspection. The sound wavelength is inversely proportional to its frequency. The most common are longitudinal. shear.)
• • • •
The measurement of sound waves from crest to crest determines its wavelength (λ). and Rayleigh (surface) waves.
• Ultrasonic reflections from the presence of discontinuities or geometric features enables detection and location. • Reflection and refraction occurs when sound waves interact with interfaces of differing acoustic properties. • The velocity of sound in a given material is constant and can only be altered by a change in the mode of energy. and focused.
.Basic Principles of Sound (cont. • In solid materials. refracted. the vibrational energy can be split into different wave modes when the wave encounters an interface at an angle other than 90 degrees.)
• Ultrasonic waves are very similar to light
waves in that they can be reflected.
. and vice versa.Ultrasound Generation
Ultrasound is generated with a transducer.
A piezoelectric element in the transducer converts electrical energy into mechanical vibrations (sound).
The transducer is capable of both transmitting and receiving sound energy.
reflected and some is transmitted.Principles of Ultrasonic Inspection • Ultrasonic waves are introduced into a material
where they travel in a straight line and at a constant speed until they encounter a surface.
• At surface interfaces some of the wave energy is • The amount of reflected or transmitted energy can
be detected and provides information about the size of the reflector.
• The travel time of the sound can be measured and
this provides information on the distance that the sound has traveled.
and inspections can be accomplished in a number of different ways. • Pulse-echo and Through Transmission Beam and Angle Beam • Normalto the angle that the sound energy enters the test article) (Relates Immersion • Contact andmethod of coupling the transducer to the test (Relates to the
article) (Relates to whether reflected or transmitted energy is used)
Each of these techniques will be discussed briefly in the following slides.
.Test Techniques • Ultrasonic testing is a very versatile inspection
method. • Ultrasonic inspection techniques are commonly divided into three primary classifications.
f • The amount of reflected sound energy is displayed versus time. a transducer sends out a pulse of energy and the same or a second transducer listens for reflected energy (an echo).Test Techniques .Pulse-Echo
• In pulse-echo testing. • Reflections occur due to the presence of discontinuities and the surfaces of the test article.
back surface echo
0 2 4 6 8 10
UT Instrument Screen
. which provides the inspector information about the size and the location of features that reflect the sound.
and it allows the location of reflectors to be precisely determined. Digital display showing the presence of a reflector midway through material.)
Digital display showing signal generated from sound reflecting off back surface.
The pulse-echo technique allows testing when access to only one side of the material is possible.Test Techniques – Pulse-Echo (cont. with lower amplitude back surface reflector.
and when signal strength is weak. • Through transmission is useful in detecting discontinuities that are not good reflectors. It does not provide depth information. One transducer acts as a transmitter. • Discontinuities in the sound path will result in a partial or total loss of sound being transmitted and be indicated by a decrease in the received signal amplitude.Test Techniques – Through-Transmission
• Two transducers located on opposing sides of the test specimen are used. the other as a receiver.
1 1 T R
Digital display showing loss of received signal due to presence of a discontinuity in the sound field.Test Techniques – Through-Transmission
Digital display showing received sound through material thickness.
. • The choice between normal and angle beam inspection usually depends on two considerations:
.The orientation of the feature of interest – the sound should be directed to produce the largest reflection from the feature. • In angle beam testing. the sound beam is introduced into the test article at 90 degree to the surface. the sound beam is introduced into the test article at some angle other than 90.Obstructions on the surface of the part that must be worked around.Test Techniques – Normal and Angle Beam
• In normal beam testing.
1 2 IP FWE
IP = Initial Pulse FWE = Front Wall Echo DE = Defect Echo BWE = Back Wall Echo
6 8 10
. This is referred to as coupling. • In immersion testing. the part and the transducer are place in a water bath.Test Techniques – Contact Vs Immersion
• To get useful levels of sound energy into a material. an echo from the front surface of the part is seen in the signal but otherwise signal interpretation is the same for the two techniques. This arrangement allows better movement of the transducer while maintaining consistent coupling. the air between the transducer and the test article must be removed. • In contact testing (shown on the previous slides) a couplant such as water. • With immersion testing. oil or a gel is applied between the transducer and the part.
etc.) • Erosion & corrosion thickness gauging • Assessment of bond integrity in adhesively joined and brazed components • Estimation of void content in composites and plastics • Measurement of case hardening depth in steels • Estimation of grain size in metals On the following slides are examples of some common applications of ultrasonic inspection. porosity.Inspection Applications
Some of the applications for which ultrasonic testing may be employed include:
• Flaw detection (cracks. inclusions.
. storage and containment facilities.Thickness Gauging • Ultrasonic thickness
gauging is routinely utilized in the petrochemical and utility industries to determine various degrees of corrosion/erosion. and pressure vessels. • Applications include piping systems.
Contact. pulse-echo inspection for delaminations on 36” rolled beam.
Signal showing multiple back surface echoes in an unflawed area.
Additional echoes indicate delaminations in the member.Flaw Detection .
. • Full penetration groove welds lend themselves readily to angle beam shear wave examination.Flaw Detection in Welds • One of the most widely
used methods of inspecting weldments is ultrasonic inspection.
In general. Proper selection is important to insure accurate inspection data as desired for specific applications.Calibration Standards
Equipment for ultrasonic testing is very diversified.Instrumentation . there are three basic components that comprise an ultrasonic test system: .Transducers .
• Transducers are manufactured in a variety of forms.Contact or immersion .Single or dual element . shapes and sizes for varying applications. and in some cases focusing which optimizes the inspection capabilities. • Transducers are categorized in a number of ways which include: . bandwidth.Normal or angle beam • In selecting a transducer for a given application. size. it is important to choose the desired frequency.
and usually have a wear plate on the bottom surface to protect the piezoelectric element from contact with the surface of the test article.Contact Transducers
Contact transducers are designed to withstand rigorous use.
. Many incorporate ergonomic designs for ease of grip while scanning along the surface.
These transducers are called dual element transducers. • This arrangement improves near
surface resolution because the second transducer does not need to complete a transmit function before listening for echoes.
• One crystal acts as a transmitter. the other as a receiver.
• Dual elements are commonly
employed in thickness gauging of thin materials.)
• Contact transducers are
available with two piezoelectric crystals in one housing.Contact Transducers (cont.
Delay line transducers have a plastic piece that is a sound path that provides a time delay between the sound generation and reception of reflected energy.Contact Transducers (cont.
• • •
. Interchangeable pieces make it possible to configure the transducer with insulating wear caps or flexible membranes that conform to rough surfaces.)
near • A way to improvesinglesurface resolution with a element transducer is through the use of a delay line. Common applications include thickness gauging and high temperature measurements.
• Angle beam transducers
incorporate wedges to introduce a refracted shear wave into a material.Transducers (cont.
• The incident wedge angle is
• Transducers can use fixed or • Common application is in weld
. examination. used with the material velocity to determine the desired refracted shear wave according to Snell’s Law) variable wedge angles.
Transducers (cont. are manufactured with planar. cylindrical or spherical acoustic lenses (focusing lens).
• Immersion transducers
.) • Immersion transducers are
designed to transmit sound whereby the transducer and test specimen are immersed in a liquid coupling medium (usually water).
some users may purchase general purpose equipment to fulfill a number of inspection applications. this may include portable or stationary.
. Flaw detectors. Further classification of instruments commonly divides them into four general categories: Dmeters. Test equipment can be classified in a number of different ways. contact or immersion. manual or automated.Instrumentation • • •
Ultrasonic equipment is usually purchased to satisfy specific inspection needs. Industrial and special application.
• Some instruments provide the user with both a digital readout and a display of the signal.Instrumentation (cont. A distinct advantage of these units is that they allow the user to evaluate the signal to ensure that the digital measurements are of the desired features.)
• D-meters or digital thickness gauge
instruments provide the user with a digital (numeric) readout. • They are designed primarily for corrosion/erosion inspection applications.
• However. the signal can be • Both analog and digital • Offer the user options of
gating horizontal sweep and amplitude threshold. evaluated to obtain other information such as material thickness values.Instrumentation (cont.
• Flaw detectors are
instruments designed primarily for the inspection of components for defects.
. • Generally not as portable as standard flaw detectors.Instrumentation (cont. • May be modulated units allowing users to tailor the instrument for their specific needs.) • Industrial flaw detection
instruments. provide users with more options than standard flaw detectors.
• Immersion ultrasonic scanning
systems are used for automated data acquisition and imaging. • The value of the data is plotted using colors or shades of gray to produce detailed images of the surface or internal features of a component. and computer controls. a scanning bridge. • The signal strength and/or the time-of-flight of the signal is measured for every point in the scan plan. ultrasonic instrumentation.Instrumentation (cont. • They integrate an immersion tank.
Images of a Quarter Produced With an Ultrasonic Immersion Scanning System
Gray scale image produced using the sound reflected from the front surface of the coin
Gray scale image produced using the sound reflected from the back surface of the coin (inspected from “heads” side)
and configurations due to the diversity of inspection applications. The following slides provide examples of specific types of standards. Calibration standards come in a wide variety of material types. Calibration standards are typically manufactured from materials of the same acoustic properties as those of the test articles.Calibration Standards
Calibration is a operation of configuring the ultrasonic test equipment to known values.
. This provides the inspector with a means of comparing test signals to known measurements.
Distance/Area Amplitude standards utilize flat bottom holes or side drilled holes to establish known reflector size with changes in sound path form the entry surface.Calibration Standards (cont.
ASTM Distance/Area Amplitude
. consisting of simple variations in material thickness.)
Thickness calibration standards may be flat or curved for pipe and tubing applications.
ASME Pipe Sec.Calibration Standards (cont. XI
. and geometric configuration to establish time distance and amplitude relationships. notches.)
There are also calibration standards for use in angle beam inspections when flaws are not parallel to entry surface. These standards utilized side drilled holes.
Qualification standards differ from calibration standards in that their use is for purposes of varying proper equipment operation and qualification of equipment use for specific codes and standards.
AWS Resolution DC-dB Accuracy
IOW Beam Profile
• Three of the more common formats include: • A-scan • B-scan • C-scan
These three formats will be discussed in the next few slides.
.Data Presentation • Information from ultrasonic testing can be
presented in a number of differing formats.
Reflector depth can be determined by the position of the signal on the horizontal sweep. Relative discontinuity size can be estimated by comparing the signal amplitude to that from a known reflector.
• • •
A-scan presentation displays the amount of received ultrasonic energy as a function of time.Data Presentation .
• B-scan presentations
display a profile view (cross-sectional) of a test specimen.Data Presentation . • Only the reflector depth in the cross-section and the linear dimensions can be determined. • A limitation to this display technique is that reflectors may be masked by larger reflectors near the surface.
• C-scan presentations are produced with an automated data acquisition system. • Use of A-scan in conjunction with C-scan is necessary when depth determination is desired.C-scan • The C-scan presentation displays a plan type view
of the test specimen and discontinuities.
Photo of a Composite Component
C-Scan Image of Internal Features
. such as in immersion scanning.Data Presentation .
penetration for flaw • Depth of to other methods.in determining reflector position and estimating size
• Minimal part preparation required.
accuracy • Highand shape. detection or measurement is superior • Only single-sided access is needed when pulse-echo technique is used. • Has other uses such as thickness measurements.
. • Detailed images can be produced with automated systems. • Electronic equipment provides instantaneous results. in addition to flaw detection.Advantage of Ultrasonic Testing
• Sensitive to both surface and subsurface discontinuities.
iron and other coarse grained • Castto low sound transmission andmaterials are difficult to inspect due high signal noise. and characterization of flaws. • Materials that are rough. very small.
. • Skill and training is more extensive than with some other methods.
• Linear defects oriented parallel to the sound beam may go undetected. • Normally requires a coupling medium to promote transfer of sound energy into test specimen.Limitations of Ultrasonic Testing
• Surface must be accessible to transmit ultrasound. irregular in shape. exceptionally thin or not homogeneous are difficult to inspect. • Reference standards are required for both equipment calibration.
. may • Band width: broad range. a range of frequencies either transmitted or received. and attenuation. with longitudinal waves.Glossary of Terms
• Acoustical properties: ultrasonic material characteristics such as velocity. impedance. a display signal that corresponds to the • Back reflection: side opposite to transducer when testingfar surface of a test specimen. be narrow or • B-scan: presentation technique displaying data in a cross-sectional view.
acronym for American • ASTM: is extensively involved Society for Testing and Materials. This society in establishing standards for materials and the testing of materials.
• C-scan: presentation technique that displays specimen data in a plan type view. Allows determination of unknown quantities from test materials. examples include fissures. • Discontinuity: an interruption in the physical structure of a material. cracks.Glossary of Terms
• Calibration: a sequence of instrument control
adjustments/instrument responses using known values to verify instrument operating characteristics. • CRT: acronym for Cathode Ray Tube. • DAC (Distance Amplitude Correction-curves): a graphical method of allowing for material attenuation. Percentage of DAC is often used as a means of acceptance criteria.
. Vacuum tube that utilizes one or more electron guns for generating an image. and porosity.
Near Surface Resolution: the ability of an ultrasonic system to display reflectors located close to the entry surface. Longitudinal (Compression) waves: ultrasonic mode of propagation in which the particle vibration is parallel to the direction of propagation. Rayleigh (Surface) waves: ultrasonic mode of propagation where the sound travels along the surface.Glossary of Terms
• • • • •
IIW: calibration standard meeting the specification of the International Institute of Welding.
. particle vibration is elliptical. Pulse-echo: ultrasonic test method that utilizes reflected sound as a means of collecting test data.
Sweep display: horizontal line on the lower portion of the display.
. often called the time base line.Glossary of Terms
• • • • •
Reflection: the changing in direction of sound waves as they strike a surface. normally measured in inches or millimeters. Wavelength: the distance that a sound wave travels as it completes one cycle. Through transmission: test technique in which ultrasound is transmitted from one transducer and received by a separate transducer on the opposite side of the test specimen. denotes angle/velocity relationship. Snell’s Law: an equation of ratios used to determine incident or refracted angle of sound.